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Join a New STC SIG: Information Design
1997, Mar-Apr (November 04, 2008)
by Cheri Taylor, Manager Information Design Special Interest Group

Information Design: the science of the organization of information. If you've been in technical communication for some time, you realize there is more to technical writing than just writing. Technical communicators with an interest in information design now have a their own group. The newly formed Information Design special interest group is at your service!

What do information designers do? Write, of course, and more. They transform complex, unorganized, or unstructured data into useful, usable information. Using skills in writing and editing, instructional design, usability, and graphic design, an information designer discovers and articulates the meaning in data, and then creates the map that allows others to use the information easily. Information design extends beyond the traditional boundaries of technical communication (reference manuals and online help systems), but to broader communication (public signage, forms and applications, and computer user interfaces).

The Information Design SIG's mission is two-fold: (1) to meet the professional
development needs of STC members in the area of information design, and (2) to act as a conduit between STC and the larger information design community.

We have a Web site up and running, where you can learn more about the SIG and information design in general. Currently, the site contains the approved proposal for the SIG, as well as an information design bibliography. We have identified a Web site chair who will be adding material to the site in the near future. Please visit us at http://stc.org/pics/idsig/ or send e-mail to idsigwww at stc dot org for information.

You can also join our listserv, where we discuss information design topics and related STC activities. To subscribe, e-mail majordomo at stc dot org and put in the body of the message SUBSCRIBE STCIDSIG-L youraddress.

Two other lists serve the information design community. The moderated list is InfoDesign, and a more informal, unmoderated list is InfoDesign-Cafe. Visit our Web site for more information about these lists and the information design community.

We plan to publish our first newsletter prior to the annual conference in May. If you want to join our mailing list, do so at our Web site. (If you have no Internet access, call at 859-1467.)

Look for us in Intercom's next issue, where an article will introduce the Information Design SIG and the new Lone Writers SIG.

I must give 100% credit for this SIG to Beth Mazur, of the Pittsburgh chapter. She has done a wonderful job of getting the SIG organized, proposed, and approved. The only glitch was toward the end of the approval process, when she discovered the requirement that a SIG manager must be a senior STC member. This is where I come in. I will act as manager, and Beth as assistant manager, until she is eligible to lead the effort herself. My congratulations to her on a job well done, and I am proud to be helping her!

A note about these special interest groups: In the past we've called them PICs (Professional Interest Committees). Because the term Special Interest Group (SIG) is more broadly understood in the greater business and professional community, STC is changing the name of our PICs to SIGs. The official kickoff of this change is the Toronto conference in May. During 1997, you may see the groups referred to either way. But we'll all eventually be SIGs! End of article.

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